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It's time to move on again. It's time to move on with our lives and we are going to do that today. As far as Oho State, they are 1-0. They beat Akron, 28-14. They have a new coaching staff. They are big, strong, tough, physical, athletic. They are an outstanding football team and they have a rich heritage as far as tradition is concerned. It will definitely be another difficult test for our football team. The nice thing about it is that it is our home opener. I think there will be a great crowd and there will be a national TV audience. A lot of eyes will be on this game.
Injury wise, Dennis Link has a thigh bruise and he won't practice today. Sean Phillips was operated on this morning for a torn meniscus. Hopefully he will be all right in a few weeks. Everyone else it appears will be ready to practice. I know Ed Stansbury had an ankle injury, but he is going to practice as much as he can tolerate. So we are in pretty good physical shape right now.
Captain wise, I'm going to have Matt Stanley be the captain for this game. He is from Columbus, Ohio. He got a scholarship two years ago after we played (Ohio State) and he scored a touchdown and really did a nice job. So he'll be the captain.
What questions do you have?
How much of a motivation is it to play Ohio State again considering there were a number of player who didn't get to play in that game and the fact that you guys lost (in 1999)?
Well I think the motivation will be that it will be a big game, it's a new year and it's a home opener for us. A lot of these guys didn't have the opportunity to play in that game. We had 11 players that didn't play for example. They were suspended. We had 11 freshmen and sophomores that started in that game. We had a freshman quarterback and a sophomore quarterback. Drew Bennett and Cory Paus. They never played quarterback. This is a different football team. As far as motivation, I think Ohio State coming to the Rose Bowl is motivation enough.
What was the mood of the team late Friday at the end of practice?
I think the mood was better. Tuesday obviously horrible for them, as was mine and I'm sure yours. I think as the week wore on they got better. As I talk to them, it's like a family or friend who loses their life. You mourn, you pray and you get depressed. It was a long, hard, tough week. Also, there comes a point where you have to move on and carry on with your life. I think they are willing to do that, never forgetting what happened last Tuesday.
At what point do you anticipate that happening? By Saturday?
I think these kids are intelligent people. They are resilient. They understand what is going on. Like I said, they will never forget what happened. Nobody will. But they do realize that if you are going to play, let's go play then. Otherwise, let's not play at all. I know there is a concern about the stadiums, the security and fear. You can't have any fear. You have to move on. If you are going to live with fear and play with fear, then you might as well not do it. We have to hope that the people who are in charge of security do a good job and we just have to hope that something like this never happens again.
What do you think the atmosphere will be like on Saturday?
I think it will kind of emotional, particularly early. You take that field and someone sings the national anthem, it will be a touchy thing early. But I think football brings out aggressive people and eventually when you kick it off, I think you will see some good football.
In terms of recruiting, you've had two away games so far. Last week you were scheduled to have a lot of kids come to the game, now it puts you back another week. Is it harder to reschedule all of the kids to come, especially considering USC has had two home games?
Well, we are doing pretty well in recruiting and we are on top of it pretty good right now. I look at it as if we had three away games. I don't like to cry over spilled milk. We will make it up. This week will be a big week for us. Obviously we have to reschedule some things because of what happened as far as recruits coming to the game and things we do with them. But in talking to the recruits this week, nobody has changed their mind. They are all still very receptive. There is nothing we can do about it so let's make it a positive, move on and go from there.
For Bob Toledo's complete question-and-answer session from Monday's press conference, please click on the audio version of this conference located at the top of the page.